Brexit Party rages at Tories for trying to make its candidates stand down

The  Brexit Party is standing in more than 270 seats at the election – despite Nigel Farage’s fury at ‘industrial interference’ by the Tories.

As official nominations are compiled, the party looks set to have candidates in 274 constituencies – including dozens of key battlegrounds between the Conservatives and Labour.

However, Boris Johnson has been given a glimmer of hope in a handful of crucial marginals against Labour and the SNP where they had been expected to field hopefuls.

Earlier this week Mr Farage dramatically pulled his party from 317 constituencies that were won by the Conservatives in 2017, saying he did not want to split the Eurosceptic vote. 

But he promised to stand in 300 seats, and rejected appeals from Tories to make way in marginals where they are trying to overhaul Labour.

The total of 274 candidates is below that level, with a number of hopefuls – including MEP Rupert Lowe in Dudley North – having defied him to quit.   

Mr Johnson has also been boosted by the absence of Brexit Party contenders in Canterbury – where Labour’s Rosie Duffield won by just 187 votes in 2917 – and Bristol North West, where the Tories are trying to overhaul a 4,700 majority.

There is also no Brexit Party hopeful in the central Scottish seat of Lanark and Hamilton East, which the Tories lost by just 266 votes in a three-way marginal two years ago.

The SNP held the seat, but had 550 Ukip voters backed the Conservatives, candidate Poppy Corbett would have become the MP. 

In other seats left vacant by Mr Farage’s outfit the Tories’ chances look much more distant. For example, Brexit Party has not bothered to stand in Liverpool Walton, where Dan Carden is defending a 32,000 majority.    

Nigel Farage (pictured in Nottinghamshire today) had promised to stand candidates in 300 seats, and rejected appeals from Tories to make way in marginals where they are trying to overhaul Labour

Nigel Farage (pictured in Nottinghamshire today) had promised to stand candidates in 300 seats, and rejected appeals from Tories to make way in marginals where they are trying to overhaul Labour

Nigel Farage (pictured in Nottinghamshire today) had promised to stand candidates in 300 seats, and rejected appeals from Tories to make way in marginals where they are trying to overhaul Labour

Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips launched a furious attack on the Conservatives for behaving like 'feudal overlords'

Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips launched a furious attack on the Conservatives for behaving like 'feudal overlords'

Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips launched a furious attack on the Conservatives for behaving like ‘feudal overlords’

Appearing on Question Time last night, Ms Phillips (right) raged at Tory chairman James Cleverly (third from left)

Appearing on Question Time last night, Ms Phillips (right) raged at Tory chairman James Cleverly (third from left)

Appearing on Question Time last night, Ms Phillips (right) raged at Tory chairman James Cleverly (third from left)

After days of bitter wrangling between the political forces, Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips launched a furious attack on the Conservatives for behaving like ‘feudal overlords’.

Mr Farage said there had been ‘thousands of phone calls and emails’ to prospective Brexit Party candidates telling them not to stand in return for jobs and peerages. Veteran Ann Widdecombe claimed she had been offered a role in EU negotiations to give up her push in Plymouth.

But the PM derided the idea that peerages had been dangled in front of Brexit Party politicians to try and get them to give the Tories a clear run in Labour marginals.

‘I am sure that conversations take place between politicians in all parties,’ Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 5 Live.

‘But certainly no-one has been offered a peerage. I can tell you that.’ 

Appearing on Question Time last night, Ms Phillips – a close ally of Mr Farage – raged at Tory chairman James Cleverly.

‘What is under the Tory tree this Christmas? Is it a peerage? Is it penance?’ she swiped. 

‘Have you been naughty or have you been nice? They have been interfering in our selection of candidates, our placing of candidates. 

‘They have been incentivising people to step down. It has been interference on an industrial scale. 

‘They have been acting like feudal overlords, frankly. They think that suffrage is something that’s universal if it just applies to their party. 

‘What are they afraid of that they have had to go after thousands of phone calls to individual candidates from the Brexit Party to say: ‘Stand down, you can get this’ or ‘Stand down, or this’.’

‘Leave us alone. If you can’t win on your own merits, then really you shouldn’t be a chairman of a party in this country. 

‘Go to Venezuela. This is a multi-party state and you guys have to get used to that.’ 

Mr Farage’s vented his anger after the nominations deadline of 4pm passed last night.

Brexit Party candidates in Dudley North and Hove declared immediately afterwards that they would not be standing – meaning Mr Farage could not field a replacement.

In a video posted on Twitter he said that he, along with eight ‘senior figures’ in his party, were offered peerages.

He also tweeted: ‘Even Boris Johnson’s Chief Strategic Adviser Sir Edward Lister is calling our candidates and offering them jobs if they withdraw. The system is corrupt and broken.’

Boris Johnson derided the idea that peerages had been dangled in front of Brexit Party politicians to try and get them to give the Tories a clear run in Labour marginals

Boris Johnson derided the idea that peerages had been dangled in front of Brexit Party politicians to try and get them to give the Tories a clear run in Labour marginals

Boris Johnson derided the idea that peerages had been dangled in front of Brexit Party politicians to try and get them to give the Tories a clear run in Labour marginals

Nigel Farage (pictured at a rally in Grimsby yesterday) said there had been 'thousands of phone calls and emails' to prospective Brexit Party candidates telling them not to stand in the election in return for jobs and peerages

Nigel Farage (pictured at a rally in Grimsby yesterday) said there had been 'thousands of phone calls and emails' to prospective Brexit Party candidates telling them not to stand in the election in return for jobs and peerages

Nigel Farage (pictured at a rally in Grimsby yesterday) said there had been ‘thousands of phone calls and emails’ to prospective Brexit Party candidates telling them not to stand in the election in return for jobs and peerages

Mr Farage had confirmed earlier that he will not stand down any more candidates to help the Tories win a majority.

A Conservative spokesman said: ‘Neither the Conservative Party, nor its officials have offered Brexit Party candidates jobs or peerages.’

Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said: ‘Since our decision to stand down more than half our candidates for the good of this country, we have been dismayed by the behaviour of senior Conservative party figures.

‘Our people have been offered jobs and titles to stand down as candidates on the last day of nominations, as part of a concerted campaign to undermine our party.

‘We made a unilateral gesture which should prevent a second referendum and keep Boris Johnson in office.

‘We are proud and grateful that our candidates have resisted these distasteful overtures and stood firm.’

A Tory source said: ‘Nigel can’t deliver Brexit, but he could end up blocking it. His outburst is a result of this fact dawning on him.’ 

 

Link hienalouca.com

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